This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Friday, March 14, 2014

6 yr old onion seeds didn't sprout...

How long do seeds last?

I've given up on my 6 year old onion seeds. :-( They didn't sprout this year. Time to throw out the package. I think also last year they also didn't sprout. It may have been the previous year (4 years old) that was the last time they came up. And that year, they took an extra week to come up.

Onions seeds are one of the more short-lived types. Its often recommended you only use them the season they are packaged for. Other short-lived seeds include corn, leek, onion, parsnip, and spinach. Hmm, I haven't bought spinach in ages. Mine have saved very well. But I agree with putting parsnip in this list and I'd add carrots here. I have some 5 year old popcorn seeds I was thinking of using again this year. I'll try a test germination on paper towels to see if there's any life left in them.

Long-lived seeds include beets, all brassicas (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, kohlrabi), chicory (endive, escarole, radicchio), cucumber, kale, lettuce, melons, mustard, peppers, radish, rutabaga, sunflower, tomato, and turnip. Long-lived means 5-10 years if kept cool and dry.

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Anonymous diary of a tomato said...

Thanks for the list of long-lived seeds, we've finally been gardening long enough to have ones old enough to discard!

March 17, 2014 1:57 PM

Blogger biobabbler said...

This is super useful info I seldom (if ever) run across. Thank you for sharing that. May explain numerous carrot fails I've experienced.

March 17, 2014 10:53 PM

Anonymous Joe said...

Back in the 80's, while ordering her seeds one spring, my mother noted the extreme value in buying the "bulk" size (1/2 oz) of tomatoes instead of just the normal sized packet. 20 years later she still had lots of remaining seed, still planted them, and was still having about 80% germination! Granted, they were much slower to sprout than newer tomato seeds, and looked a little sickly when they finally did come up, but they always recovered nicely.

March 25, 2014 1:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting to think that onion seeds aren't long living however onions themselves can generally be kept for a long time. Is vegetable growing worth the time or is it just as cheap and easy to buy from the store. I am a uni student so have thought about growing vegetables to save money. Thanks for the information.

April 08, 2014 11:49 PM


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